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Interview Series: Advisor to Physicians Making Non-clinical Career Transitions, Robert Priddy

Okay, you guys are in for quite a treat because this interview provided me with so much new and useful information!

Today's interview is with Robert Priddy, a trusted confidential advisor for more than 1,200 physicians seeking non-clinical career transitions or restructured clinical practices. I stumbled upon his website (and stayed on it) looking for resume help for physicians looking to transition into non-clinical careers; how to stand out to recruiters. 

It was an excellent read so check it out here: The Resume Recruiter Love to Hate.

The moment I read Bob Priddy's work and through this interview, I knew he was a no-nonsense kind of guy who gives you tough love, but you know that it is effective advice that will help you succeed.

Start Interview

1. Tell me a little about yourself, what you do, and how did you come to work with
physicians?

I’ve been working with physicians in practice and then career development since 1981.

Originally, in four separate hospital posts, I had recruiting, staff development and practice development responsibilities, but then after leaving the provider side, practice consulting evolved into my current business of physician nonclinical career transition. I’ve been engaged in this business as an entrepreneur for the past 15 or so years.


2. What are the greatest challenges that physicians face when attempting to make a career transition? How can they avoid these mistakes and challenges?

The greatest challenges is simply allowing themselves to believe they can provide significant value outside medical/surgical practice.

Physicians tend to limit their own perspectives and downplay what I’ll call their nonclinical knowledge and ability. Remember, medical practice is about “staying within the lines.” Business is about creating your own lines.

You overcome challenges by simply pushing them aside. Most challenges, that is challenges physicians face in moving outside medical practice, are self-imposed. As I say almost daily, ‘take off your blinders,” it’s a big world out there with many things you can do.

3. Are there a lot of options for physicians without residency training?

Yes, if physicians can step outside their self-imposed box and simply look at themselves as highly educated problem solvers, they can then see that the processes they learned to study and solve problems is effective in almost any setting.

4. What are some careers that are less known as options for physicians?


Consider franchises of nearly anything. I know physicians who’ve been frustrated cooks who became chefs.... I have a client who makes violins, Mindfulness coaches and consultants in various stripes. But also, you can’t discount the Big Four: Pharma, Finance, Providers and Insurance. They are still viable, but they don’t represent easy next steps (or first steps following years of practice) simply because they have so many physicians in their ranks they can source from a group of existing experts. Consider, if Bayer wants to hire a medical director, will they hire someone fresh from practice or someone who is already a pharma/bio-tech medical director.

Common sense says the latter.

(Take this quiz here to check your Your Nonclinical Job IQ)

5. How can physicians find the right recruiter? It seems like recruiters want a lot of experience in resumes, but for a physician transitioning into a new career, they don’t always have enough experience.

The simple answer, they can’t. Now, lightening does strike somewhere on earth about 100 times every second, but I’ve been on this earth for about 67 years and I’ve never experienced a strike.

So, yes, you may have heard of some physician being called by a recruiter and getting hired, but don’t count on it... don’t make if your primary strategy for getting your first nonclinical job.


Consider recruiters or HR people this way. They are hired to fill an order. Read their job openings. Do you match 100% the criteria and qualifications for the job? If yes, then apply, but if not, trust me, someone will, and when your job is to fill a specific order, will you pass along the resume of the
person meeting all the requirements or of someone who does not?

Also, read this: http://www.thirdevo.com/nonclinical-careers/recruiters

6. For physicians start planning for a transition into a nonclinical career, what can they start doing today? How long does the transition normally take?

Today, begin by creating a three column list;
i. Column One = Interests and Passions
ii. Column Two = Skills
iii. Column Three = Knowledge

Column One should be the most important for decision making. If you’re not passionate or at the very least interested in something, don’t pursue it as a career. Then, match the next two columns with supporting skills and knowledge for your Interests... That points you in the right direction – and just like treating a patient, without that “right direction” which you might also call your Career DiagnosisTM, you can treat.

How long... I always tell clients to plan on a nine to 14 month window for a job and up to 24 months to start an entrepreneurial endeavor.

End Interview

Good advice right? Specific and helps you to take action. What really resonated with me was when he said that a whole new world of endless careers opens up when the physicians removes himself/herself from his/her "self-imposed box and simply look at themselves as highly educated problem solvers, they can then see that the processes they learned to study and solve problems is effective in almost any setting". 

We really do self-impose ourselves in our own little boxes and limit ourselves. Mindset is the key to a successful career transition. 

Check out his website for more resources.